THE WIZ

The Wizard of Oz is returning to theaters; apparently it has been in storage.  Filmed in 1939, it will be showing for just three days at seven hundred movie houses across the country to celebrate the 80th  anniversary of this iconic story. I have read countless articles and  lots of trivia about this picture over the years and thought it is  time to share some of them with you.

Actor Frank Morgan, who played the "Great and Powerful Oz", actually  had several other parts in the movie; you might remember him as the  fortune-telling professor in Kansas, but did you recognize him as the  driver of the horse of different colors, a guard at the palace gates  and also a door keeper?

Toto the dog was actually named Terry and was a female; the featured  star Judy Garland fell in love with the little fellow and wanted to  adopt him but the owner loved her so much that he could not let her  go. Toto had two doggie doubles and they were used in the film when  one of the witch’s guards accidently stepped on the tiny star and  broke her leg.  Toto earned more money per day than the little people  who played the Munchkins.

Buddy Ebsen, who later starred as Jedd Clampett in the television  series "The Beverly Hillbillies" was first cast as the Scarecrow but  requested to change to the part of the Tin Man.  Unbeknownst to Ebsen,  the aluminum paint they used contained aluminum dust which caused him  to be rushed to the hospital with an allergic reaction.  He was  
replaced but his voice continued to be used throughout the filming.

The movie had four different directors, one being fired during the  early days of filming, two who were summoned to assist with the  filming of the other iconic movie made that year, "Gone with the Wind"  and the gentleman King Wallis Vidor who took the helm and completed  the film.

Jell-O was an important element in the film because it was utilize to  make a paste-like product to apply color to in the "Horse of a  Different Color" scene.  The ASPCA was consulted to approve the  technique and it was successful except the horses kept licking the  sweet substance off their skin causing it to have to be reapplied.

There is truth to the rumor that child star Shirley Temple was  considered for the starring role but the more mature Judy Garland won  the part because of her stronger singing voice.  However, Judy was  older and more mature than the character of Dorothy in the book, so  she wore a tight corset during the filming to make her appear younger.

Oz won two Oscars in 1940 although the film was nominated for four  more; the winners were Best Music original score and Best Music  original song for "Over the Rainbow" which was nearly cut from the  film.  The best picture Oscar that year was of course won by "Gone  with the Wind". To be continued.

 

Brenda S. Brown 

 

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